Dear Eligibility Coach:
I am a transfer student-athlete who wants to compete for my new school without having to sit out a year. I have been told that I may be eligible for a waiver, but when I called the NCAA I was told I should qualify for an exception. What is the difference between the two and which one will let me compete faster?
A university must apply for a waiver of legislation and have the waiver processed by either the NCAA or a conference office. Individuals cannot apply for waivers themselves.
When a student-athlete is granted a waiver it means that while the legislation applies to the student-athlete, based on the specific circumstances of the case, the
NCAA or conference office will allow the student-athlete to do something he otherwise would not be able to do.
Exceptions to legislation are written into the Bylaws and can be applied by the individual member institutions. They do not require a formal process.
One way to think of the two is as follows: for a waiver you must
ask permission to do something and wait for a decision to be made; whereas, for an exception you don’t have to ask permission, and you may be granted the exception immediately.
As to which one will help you to compete faster, you will need to speak with the compliance officer at the university you plan to transfer to and inquire about the specifics of your situation. Good luck.